Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has issued
Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems sector an "undefinitized"
[perhaps an education major wrote that one --ed.] contract
modification worth up to $160 million to produce and demonstrate a
minimum of two full-scale X-47B unmanned combat air vehicles.
The X-47Bs will demonstrate the technical and operational
feasibility of using a UAV to conduct U.S. Navy missions from an
aircraft carrier. Northrop Grumman will also demonstrate how a UCAV
can be used to satisfy U.S. Air Force mission requirements.
award is a modification to the company's current Phase IIA UCAV
agreement. It marks the beginning of Phase IIB of the Naval UCAV
advanced technology effort. Over the next 90 days, Northrop Grumman
will develop a detailed cost and development schedule for the
program, which is expected to run through 2006.
Under terms of the agreement, Northrop Grumman will adapt its
current X-47B UCAV design to accommodate a consolidated set of Navy
and Air Force science and technology objectives, including a combat
radius of 1,300 nautical miles with a payload of 4,500 pounds, and
the ability to loiter for two hours over a target up to 1,000
nautical miles away.
In addition to developing the air vehicle and its autonomous
control system, the contract also calls for development of a UCAV
mission control system.